Aiming to celebrate and recognize Lincoln’s Indigenous connections, the town is proposing to rename Jordan Hollow Park to Sho’aríshon Park.
The park plans were done in consultation with stakeholders and Indigenous organizations, including the Niagara Regional Native Centre and Plenty Canada, a non-profit that facilitates access and shares resources with Indigenous peoples.
If approved by the town, the park — which is located in an area significant to many Indigenous nations and is a part of the treaty and traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and the Neutral Nation — will offer a chance to highlight its historical and contemporary Indigenous culture.
At April 11’s committee of whole meeting, Mayor Sandra Easton said the potential renaming could be a “tremendous addition” to the culture of the Lincoln community and it’s something everyone should be proud of.
Easton was impressed with “the sheer fact that we have been able to interest Indigenous experts in what we are doing here to the point that they’re willing to share with us a name that is from their people.”
The proposed renaming comes from a consultation with Alyssa Genera, a Kanien’kéha language specialist, archeologist Martin Cooper, and Tim Johnson of Plenty Canada.
According to the Town of Lincoln, naming options were discussed with Indigenous stakeholders, considering relevance, meaning, and significance. Sho’aríshon Park was returned to a larger group of Indigenous stakeholders for comment and consensus and received full support.
The park’s land has significance to the Neutral Nation — Attawandardon — with a multi-generational Neutral burial site dating from the early to the mid-17th century less than half a kilometre away from the park.
The Neutral Nation was an Iroquoian language-speaking group of settled village horticulturalists who spoke a different language — and were named Neutral by French missionaries because of their impartial stance in the conflict between the Huron-Wendat and the Five Nations Haudenosaunee.
Between 1647 and 1651, the Five Nations dispersed and assimilated the Neutral Nation. After this time, documented Neutral Nation existence ceased.
Council staff will be considering the public’s feedback regarding the park’s new name until May 9, followed by another meeting on May 23 and a final decision should be made by the council on June 19.
Other changes will soon be coming to the park with a selection of two site-specific Indigenous public artworks celebrating the work of contemporary Indigenous artists.
Both sculptures will be installed permanently in the planned art corridor, complementing the existing park upgrade plan. It includes the construction of a longhouse and palisades and a semi-sloping amphitheatre designed by Six Nations-based architecture firm Two Row Architect and landscape architecture firm Adesso Design.